Windows or macOS running out of room and crawling to a halt as a result? Nowhere to store your latest batch of phone photos or iTunes music purchases? Dwindling computer storage space is a problem most of us have to face from time to time, and here’s what you can do to ease the pressure.
The more empty space you’ve got on your hard drive the better—it gives your OS more room to breathe and more flexibility when it comes to storing files and all the temporary data that goes along with day-to-day use of your system. Even if you’ve already got a sizeable chunk of disk space free, it’s always worth clearing out some more.
Delete, delete, delete
Don’t underestimate how much room you can free up using nothing but the Delete key, even if you’ve only got five or ten minutes for the job. While automated tools are faster, this gives you more control over what gets deleted and what doesn’t.
Your desktop and browser download folders are good places to start the clear out, followed by your photo, music, and video libraries, which are likely to be taking up plenty of room. If you’ve bought movies or TV shows from iTunes, for example, then you can safely delete your local copies and download them again if and when needed.
If you need more time to sift through years of pictures or other types of files then moving them to an external drive while you do the sorting can relieve some of the pressure on the hard disk storage (though you should have other backups in place as well). Look for blurred pictures, duplicate pictures, and pictures you’d rather forget.
Applications and games can take up a substantial number of gigabytes, so consider uninstalling any that you’re not regularly using, having first checked that you can download them again should you need to. In some cases you might be able to remove certain components of apps rather than the full programs.